Exposed: The US is an Oligarchy Ruled by Billionaires and Dictators

Eric Zuesse Off Guardian Even for the post of U.S. President, the preferences of the American people have only a marginal, if any, impact upon the selection of the person to occupy that post. In Colorado’s Republican race to win delegates to the Republican National Convention for selecting the Republican Presidential nominee, there was no primary, and there was no caucus. As the Republican magazine National Review headlined on April 11th, attempting to justify what a Republican wag had just headlined as “Cruz Celebrates Voterless Win”: “Donald Trump Laid a Colorado Goose Egg because He Was Disorganized and Amateurish.” Their argument (since they campaign for any Republican but Trump) was: he lost “because he was disorganized and amateurish”  not because he had been cheated by the Party-hierarchy. National Review explained that in the process which had been set up by the Colorado Republican Party (it’s set up by each individual state’s Republican Party, […] Read More

Here We Go Again: Obama Pushes Banks To Lower Home Loan Standards

Recently, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the following: “One of the key legacy achievements of this presidency will be the important reforms of Wall Street. Those reforms have led to a financial system that is more stable and ensures that taxpayers are not on the hook for bailing out financial institutions that make risky bets.” Evidently the Obama administration has a different definition of “risky bets”, and “taxpayers not on the hook” than most people, because as the Washington Post reports: The Obama administration is engaged in a broad push to make more home loans available to people with weaker credit, an effort that officials say will help power the economic recovery but that skeptics say could open the door to the risky lending that caused the housing crash in the first place. … administration officials say they are working to get banks to lend to a […] Read More

Obama’s ISIS War Is Not Only Illegal, It Makes George W. Bush Look Like A Constitutional Scholar

Submitted by Mike Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog, Rudderless and without a compass, the American ship of state continues to drift, guns blazing. – Andrew J. Bacevich, the Boston University political science professor and former Army colonel who lost his son in the Iraq war in 2007, in a recent Reuters article. I have spent the past several days outlining my deep concerns about the “ISIS crisis” and Obama’s willingness to employ extreme propaganda in order to once again embark on another poorly thought out military campaign here and here. What I have also come to realize is that his latest war plan is brazenly illegal and unconstitutional. While critics have been questioning the legality of U.S. military campaigns consistently since the end of World War II, one trend has become increasingly clear. With each new President and each new war, we have witnessed those who hold the office act more and more like […] Read More

What Your “Startlingly Intimate, Voyeristic” NSA File Looks Like

A few days ago, we asked a simple rhetorical question: “Are you targeted by the NSA?” The answer, sadly for those reading this, is very likely yes, as it was revealed that as part of the NSA’s XKeyscore program “a computer network exploitation system, as described in an NSA presentation, devoted to gathering nearly everything a user does on the internet” all it takes for a user to be flagged by America‘s superspooks is to go to a website the NSA finds less than “patriotic” and that user becomes a fixture for the NSA’s tracking algos. So assuming one is being tracked by the NSA – or as it is also known for politically correct reasons “intercepted” – as a “person of interest” or worse, just what kind of data does the NSA collect? The latest report by the WaPo titled “In NSA-intercepted data, those not targeted far outnumber […] Read More

The Chaos In Iraq Is By DESIGN

Neoconservatives like Paul Wolfowitz planned regime change in Iraq more than 20 years ago … in 1991. But the goal wasn’t just regime change (or oil).  The goal was to break up the country, and to do away with the sovereignty of Iraq as a separate nation. The Guardian noted in 2003: President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt predicted devastating consequences for the Middle East if Iraq is attacked. “We fear a state of disorder and chaos may prevail in the region,” he said. *** They are probably still splitting their sides with laughter in the Pentagon. But Mr Mubarak and the [Pentagon] hawks do agree on one thing: war with Iraq could spell disaster for several regimes in the Middle East. Mr Mubarak believes that would be bad. The hawks, though, believe it would be good. For the hawks, disorder and chaos sweeping through the region would not be […] Read More

Norad Admits F-22 Fighter Jets Intercepted 4 Russian Bombers 50 Miles Off California Coast

“At the height of the Cold War I do not remember them getting this close,” notes a retired Air Force Lt. Gen. as The Washington Free Beacon reports that four Russian strategic bombers triggered U.S. air defense systems while conducting practice bombing runs near Alaska this week, with two of the Tu-95 Bear H aircraft coming within 50 miles of the California coast, the North American Aerospace Defense Command (Norad) confirmed Wednesday. Two U.S. Air Force F-22 jets were scrambled and intercepted the bombers over the Aleutians but the remaining two nuclear-capable bombers then flew southeast and entered the U.S. northern air defense zone off the coast of Northern California, before 2 more F-15s were scrambled. As House Armed Services Committee member Connaway ranted, “truth of the matter is we would have squashed either one of those [bombers] like baby seals.” As The Washington Free Beacon explains, Four Russian […] Read More

Spying Is Meant to Crush Citizens’ Dissent, Not Catch Terrorists

Preface: NSA Lied When It Said It Doesn’t Record Content Last week, Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman –  who has reviewed many of the documents leaked by Ed Snowden – told PBS’ Frontline: Who’s e-mailing whom? Who’s texting whom? Who’s doing Skype calls with whom? They’re collecting a lot of information, a lot of content of phone calls. They’re actually recording the voices— not for all of our calls, but for a lot of U.S. telephone calls. Background. Okay, now you’re ready for the main story … Spying Is Meant to Crush Citizens’ Dissent, Not Catch Terrorists While many Americans understand why the NSA is conducting mass surveillance of U.S. citizens, some are still confused about what’s really going on.In his new book, No Place to Hide, Glenn Greenwald writes: The perception that invasive surveillance is confined only to a marginalised and deserving group of those “doing wrong” – […] Read More

Tim Geithner Admits “Too Big To Fail” Hasn’t Gone Anywhere (And That’s The Way He Likes It)

Submitted by Mike Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg blog, But it is now clear that Geithner never believed his own talking points. To him, too-big-to-fail and the so-called moral hazard, or safety net, that it would create can’t really ever be fully taken away. During his lecture to Summers’s class, one student asked a question about “resolution authority,” a provision of the reform laws that is supposed to let the government wind down a complex financial institution without creating a domino effect. The question prompted Geithner onto a tangent about too-big-to-fail. “Does it still exist?” he said. “Yeah, of course it does.” Ending too-big-to-fail was “like Moby-Dick for economists or regulators. It’s not just quixotic, it’s misguided.” – From The New York Times Magazine article, What Timothy Geithner Really Thinks Never in a million years did I think I’d ever use an article by Andrew Ross Sorkin as the basis […] Read More

The Secret Back Story to Russia and Ukraine that Americans Never Learned In School

Preface:  We believe that Soviet communism was an abomination.  Stalin was certainly a tyrant: he killed countless political enemies or threw them into insane asylums.   We also have littler tolerance for useful idiots who defend communism as a force for good.  In short, we hate Soviet era communism. And Putin also runs Russia like it’s his plaything, with little regard for the desires of his people. But U.S. warmongers have also been hyping the Russian threat with self-serving lies – and committing atrocities and telling lies – for some 70 years.  As an American, my concern is keeping America from destroying itself.  And – unless we learn our history – we could get in a lot of trouble. America Launched the Cold War Even Before World War II Had Ended Joseph Stalin and the Soviets were key in helping the U.S. to defeat the Nazis.  20 million Russians died […] Read More

Obama May Grant Clemency to Thousands Convicted of Drug Violations

The Obama Administration continues to rollback oppressive sentences for those with non-violent drug convictions An unnamed White House official has told Yahoo! News that President Barack Obama is preparing to grant clemency to “hundreds, perhaps thousands” of people who have been imprisoned for non-violent drug violations. This news comes a few months after the administration’s announcement that it has encouraged defense attorneys to suggest inmates who should be considered for early release from prison. This indicates that the Obama administration will continue in its efforts to curtail severe penalties in low-level drug cases. Late last year, President Obama commuted the sentences of nine people serving time in federal prison for non-violent offenses involving crack cocaine, saying that they had been sentenced under an “unfair system.” There is a huge disparity in sentences handed down between crack and powder cocaine offenses. This has been reduced somewhat by the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which brought a long-sought reduction in the penalties for crack cocaine. […] Read More

2013: NSA: Dianne Feinstein breaks ranks to oppose US spying on allies

Senate intelligence committee chair Dianne Feinstein, who has been a loyal defender of the NSA, demands a ‘total’ surveillance review The chair of the Senate intelligence committee, who has been a loyal defender of the National Security Agency, dramatically broke ranks on Monday, saying she was “totally opposed” to the US spying on allies and demanding a total review of all surveillance programs. California Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein strongly criticised the NSA’s monitoring of the calls of friendly world leaders such as German chancellor Angela Merkel. Feinstein, who has steadfastly defended the NSA’s mass surveillance programs, added that both Barack Obama and members of her committee, which is supposed to received classified briefings, had been kept in the dark about operations to target foreign leaders. “It is abundantly clear that a total review of all intelligence programs is necessary so that members of the Senate Intelligence Committee are fully […] Read More

Thousands gather in Washington for anti-NSA 'Stop Watching Us' rally

Statement from whistleblower Edward Snowden read to crowd featuring groups from left and right of political spectrum Thousands gathered by the Capitol reflection pool in Washington on Saturday to march, chant, and listen to speakers and performers as part of Stop Watching Us, a gathering to protest “mass surveillance” under NSA programs first disclosed by the whistleblower Edward Snowden. Billed by organizers as “the largest rally yet to protest mass surveillance”, Stop Watching Us was sponsored by an unusually broad coalition of left- and right-wing groups, including everything from the American Civil Liberties Union, the Green Party, Color of Change and Daily Kos to the Libertarian Party, FreedomWorks and Young Americans for Liberty. The events began outside Union Station, a few blocks away from the Capitol. Props abounded, with a model drone hoisted by one member of the crowd and a large parachute carried by others. One member of […] Read More